CEBU

2021 budget focuses on health sector, economic recovery

File photo

THE Cebu City executive department has proposed a P10.8-billion budget for the year 2021. It will prioritize future spending on programs for health, social welfare services and economic recovery response.

The proposed budget has been submitted to the City Council for approval.

Mayor Edgardo Labella said due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis, the City must prioritize the health sector, including the purchase of additional equipment for the Cebu City Medical Center.

Labella, though, did not specify the exact amount for each program his office will focus on.

The local executive said the budget for the City Health Department will be use to purchase medicines and vaccines for flu, dengue and tuberculosis, among others.

Labella was supposed to allocate funds for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines, but since these are not available in the market yet, he did not include it.

“In our budget message, atong gisulti nga (we said that) although we intend to purchase vaccine for Covid, but we really don’t know yet when will it be made available so we just reserve it if in case,” the mayor said.

“Og mu-appropriate ta karon og mga (So we’re appropriating) P500 million. Tingali og di pa ma-made (If the vaccine will still not be made) available so we’ll just have it done later if it is available already,” he added.

Meanwhile, Labella said it is important to secure funding for the recovery of the city’s economic status, considering the ill effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced the government to impose community quarantines to slow down the spread of the disease.

The lockdowns and restrictions on movement forced some businesses to close shop, while several owners opted to retrench their employees.

City Secretary Charise Piramide confirmed that her office has already received the proposed budget from the executive department, which is still subject to a budget hearing.

The proposed 2021 annual budget is P400 million more than the 2020 budget, which was P10.4 billion.

In an earlier report, City Coucilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, chairman of the committee of budget and finance, said that aside from revenues collected from real property and business taxes, the City can source funds for the 2021 budget from its savings, proceeds from lot sale at the South Road Properties and its Internal Revenue Allotment from the National Government. (JJL)


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